Synod of Mid-America Newsletter Volume 15, Issue 1. January 13, 2014
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RCA Job Posting: Coordinator for Local Missional Engagement The Coordinator for Local Missional Engagement is responsible to empower, equip, and engage congregations, classes, and regional synods in the Reformed Church in America to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ in transformational ways, bringing salvation, compassion, reconciliation, justice, blessing, and hope to individuals, families, and communities that God draws into relationship through divine appointments and opportunities to express faith and love in action. More information can be found here.Youth Delegate to 2014 General Synod Annually each regional synod of the RCA can send one youth corresponding delegate to General Synod (Central College in Pella, Iowa, June 12-17, 2014). A corresponding delegate participates like a regular delegate but is not able to vote. A “youth” delegate is one who is somewhere around traditional college age. In addition to participating in the regular business of the General Synod, the youth corresponding delegates meet and do things together. It is anticipated that the youth delegates have given some thought about the possibility that God may be calling him or her to be a minister, but that does not necessarily mean that a decision has been made. It is an intention of the participation in General Synod as a youth delegate to help that person discern hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice. Do you know of someone who might be a candidate for this youth delegate? Please give your suggested name and contact email address to Chad Schuitema.Synod of Mid-America Youth Invited to Genesis: 2014 Genesis is an event for Senior High students, where leaders and students can worship honestly and grow spiritually. Students are given an opportunity to lead and serve in various ways, grow together as a group, and connect with the other youth that have all converged on The Grand Traverse Resort, Traverse City, Michigan. This event is sponsored by the Regional Synod of the Great Lakes. The 2014 event will be held February 28 thru March 2, 2014 with the cost being $175. This year the Synod of the Great Lakes invites the youth of the Synod of Mid-America to Genesis! For more information see here: http://genesisevent.org/
Classis/Church/Minister News Joshua Scheid was ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament at Gibbsville Reformed Church in Gibbsville, WI on January 5, 2014. We join with Joshua and his family in celebrating this important day in his life and the life of Christ’s Church.
Trinity Reformed Church, Fulton, Illinois held its last worship service on December 29, 2013. We praise God for the impact and witness of Trinity and pray for the people who called that church “home” for many years.
Planning Tool for 2014…
Often during the month of January as consistories make transitions, pastors will schedule some time with key leaders not only to look forward but also to look backward in order to evaluate what is and isn’t working to accomplish a kingdom vision. Will Mancini’s blog “2014 Ministry and Vision Planning Ideas: The Four Helpful Lists by Tom Paterson” has a helpful and simple tool for an evaluation process. Will introduces Tom Paterson, a strategy and planning guru. Tom is in his 80’s and the architect of a process called “StratOps“, an intense 3-day strategic execution process with planning tools. Mancini reports that one of Tom’s mantras is “Perspective before Planning”. Below is one of Tom’s exercises that can be used with a consistory called “4 Helpful Hints”. Here’s how it works:
* Create five columns on white board or two white-pad sticky sheets.
* At the top of the first four columns put 4 questions:
What’s Right? (What do we need to amplify?)
What’s Wrong? (What do we need to fix?)
What’s Confused? (What do we need to clarify?)
What’s Missing? (What do we need to add?)
* At the top of the 5th column write, “Core Issues”.
* Take from 45-90 minutes with the consistory to discuss any aspect of the church: leadership, programs, events, vision, hospitality, community mission engagement, etc.
* Invite people to people to populate the columns with any content with regard to the four questions.
* After the first four columns have been populated, begin to consider and record core issues in the 5th column.
* Keep in mind the four corresponding imperatives to each of the questions: amplify, fix, clarify and add.
* Be ready for some break through clarity.
This tool could be a very helpful process for a consistory retreat. If you would like to discover about 25 more tools for leadership teams in the church you can register for Auxano in 2014. Here you will discover Paterson’s StratOp process for churches.
– Wayne Van Regenmorter
January 13: Coaching, Office
14: KEZ Meeting/Calvary Reformed Church/Orland Park, IL; Synod Executive Team Meeting/Camp Manitoqua; Meeting/Beecher, IL
15: Meeting/Faith Church/Dyer, IN
18: Chicago Classis Meeting/Faith Community Reformed Church/Stickney, IL
19: Sunday Worship
21: Meeting/Lombard, IL
22: Staff Meeting/Camp Manitoqua
24: Conference Call, Meeting/Oak Park, IL
26: Sunday Worship
Wayne’s contact information: 10088 Prairie Knoll Ct. St. John, IN 46373 Cell phone: 941-302-1281 Home phone: 219-365-1694 Email: email@example.com
The following are ministry links you may find helpful…Missing the Mission: Looking for the Right Results While Loving the Wrong Things – Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research says: “All churches love certain things. Some love fellowship, some worship, some prayer. Those are good loves. Some are neutral loves. Some are not. Other churches love their building, their history, or their strategy.
Those can be good or bad, depending on what we mean by love and how we value those things. But, some things churches love that hurt their mission and hinder their call. Here are three I’ve observed from my work with thousands of churches.”
Mindless Metrics – Sometimes the two most important measures we use to determine church health are average attendance and average Sunday offerings. Tom Ehrich says, “A much better quantitative measure would get at “touches,” that is, how many lives are being touched by contact with the faith community in its various Sunday, weekday, off-site and online ministries —and then, for a qualitative measure, asking how those lives are being transformed.”
Three Signs Your Church Is Too Busy – Deborah Wipf states: “Reaching people for Christ is our main mission in ministry, and most churches use a variety of methods to attract a diverse audience. That makes sense, yet if we’re not careful, this can lead to a scattered approach that drains your people and church finances. Then, once a program or event is in place, it becomes part of the routine regardless of whether it attracts people or produces the desired results.”
Being the Church Today – Steve Willis talks about the decline in Christian influence in America and says: “the proof of our decline is not lessening power, money, and influence but rather our commercialized, dominant-culture idolization of the market. We see our situation through the same spectacles that the dominant, secular American culture views the world. The problem is not that we are getting smaller and more peripheral. The problem is a lethargic faith imagination and a graceless covenant love.”
Restructuring Into Simplicity – What is at the core of everything your church does? “It’s possible that much of your congregation’s mission is not easily understood by most congregation members. It may also be possible that, after years of structuring your congregation toward classic ministry outcomes, you’re still not gathering the attention, interest, or emotions of most congregation members,” says Bob Sitze.
January 13: Lafayette Office
14: Manitoqua Office; Executive Team Meeting
15: Lafayette Office
16: Faithwalking Retreat Indianapolis
17: Faithwalking Retreat Indianapolis
20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Off
21: Lafayette Office
22: Manitoqua Office; Staff Meeting
23: Multi-Racial Initiatives Meeting Pembroke, IL
24: Lafayette Office
Telling our stories is a way for us to encourage each other and to share what the Spirit is doing through the churches and people of our synod. As you share yours, others may be empowered to do similar things or the Spirit may use it as a starting point for another idea to reach people for Christ. We encourage you to share!
Recently, Faith Church – Highland was featured in the RCAToday. You can check out the story of how an historic 104 year-old ministry made a bold move to become a thriving ministry here.
All stories are shared to give glory and honor to God. We also hope this stories can inspire and encourage one another as we serve him. Please send your stories to Chad Schuitema at firstname.lastname@example.org.